Last year I had a memorable session with my coach that I was reminded of this week.
I was sad that day, ruminating about the vexing nature of intimate relationships. She interrupted my rant (yes, I can rant) and exclaimed, “You are finding comfort in your sadness, it is protecting you, but eventually you will stop looking back and start to focus on the here and now. And when you are ready we will make enormous progress.”
At first I thought, “Take a walk, who the hell are you?” Not soon after though the wisdom of those words began the “mountain-moving” process.
Recently I was chatting with a very close friend and colleague about challenges she is having in her life. Of course I was sympathetic, but remember sympathy is NOT empathy. The first is an emotional response, the second involves understanding AND action.
Now you must understand I adore this woman. She is energetic, beautiful, brilliant and creative. I wanted to give her the opportunity to wallow about her erroneous perception of how the past is always a prologue.
But then I said, “I do not believe you! This is not about past attempts and past failures, this is about something here and NOW. I do not know what it is, but I believe you KNOW THE ANSWER so let’s explore it together.”
I could have received an aggressive and defensive response . . . The Wrath of Her is almost as bad as The Wrath of Khan, but I did not care. Instead, knowing that I was there to explore the actual issue(s) was all she needed (I would say WANTED) to move forward.
I have NO IDEA what will come of our conversation. Sometimes empathy means NOT being nice, but instead admitting you are not convinced by the argument or sentiment. It means that there just might be something hidden, and that “not knowing” means there is a chance to work together to find a palatable answer based on a more promising reality.
What promising reality could you uncover this week with the help of a coach . . . GO FOR IT!